How Runts Were a Product of Willy Wonka's Corporate Imagination


The movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory did more than give kids nearly two hours of pure imagination—it launched a candy brand that’s produced unusual, scrumdiddilyumptious sweets like Runts.

In 1969, director Mel Stuart was given a lofty request from his daughter—turning her dogeared copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory into a vivid, full-scale production. Stuart jumped on the idea, and he paid his daughter a $50 reward, plus a one-line spot in the film.

Stuart teamed up with film producer David Wolper to bring the idea to the big screen, but the two knew that the eccentric script idea would need strong financial backing. Wolper approached Quaker Oats with the idea of financing the film, and the food company snapped up the offer with intentions of a product spin-off—candy bars. (Stuart later called this deal one of the first and "most revolutionary of the product tie-ins that would become standard with studio movies.”)

But, Quaker Oats may have landed a rough deal, because its chocolate bar project never made it to retailers. The oatmeal empire paid $3 million for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, but it could never nail down a perfect chocolate recipe for its candy bar. However, so as not to completely miss out on the candy bar craze after the film’s launch in 1971, Quaker Oats did market a kit for homemade chocolates.

Quaker Oats utilized its Chicago-based candy company, Breaker Confections, to roll out two other candies around the film’s release under the Willy Wonka brand: Peanut Butter Oompas (peanut butter and chocolate drops covered in candy) and the Peanut Butter Super Skrunch (a peanut butter and crisp rice bar).

With some success under its belt, the Willy Wonka brand took advantage of its fictional namesake’s quirks and began rolling out never-before seen candies, like Laffy Taffy and Everlasting Gobstoppers.

By 1980, Breaker Confections officially took on the Willy Wonka Candy Company name. Two years later, it launched Runts: small, fruit-shaped candy in five flavors: cherry, strawberry, orange, lime and banana.

Nestlé went on to acquire the candy company (simply renamed Wonka) in 1988, but Runts stayed on the production line unlike some other early Wonka originals. Flavors have evolved since the 1980s, introducing new fruits like pineapple and mango and nixing lime. For some time, Tropical Runts and Rock’n Runts made their ways into the candy aisle, featuring watermelon, lemon and raspberry candies.

The newest Runts lineup keeps some oldies—banana, orange, and strawberry—while adding the newer grape and green apple.

These small, hard-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bites spun off their own candy idea for Bananarama—boxes of only banana Runts. Though, if you’re under the impression that the banana flavor is the best because of its solo status, there’s a slew of people who think the tiny, yellow candies are the worst. But, with Runts’ track record, another bite-sized flavor may just be on the cusp of Wonka's imagination.

Here's the Right Way to Pronounce Kitchenware Brand Le Creuset

If you were never quite sure how to pronounce the name of beloved French kitchenware brand Le Creuset, don't fret: For the longest time, southern chef, author, and PBS personality Vivian Howard wasn't sure either.

In this video from Le Creuset, shared by Food & Wine, Howard prepares to sear some meat in her bright orange Le Creuset pot and explains, "For the longest time I had such a crush on them but I could never verbalize it because I didn’t know how to say it and I was so afraid of sounding like a big old redneck." Listen closely as she demonstrates the official, Le Creuset-endorsed pronunciation at 0:51.

Le Creuset is known for its colorful, cast-iron cookware, which is revered by pro chefs and home cooks everywhere. The company first introduced their durable pots to the world in 1925. Especially popular are their Dutch ovens, which are thick cast-iron pots that have been around since the 18th century and are used for slow-cooking dishes like roasts, stews, and casseroles.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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Amazon Will Now Deliver Whole Foods Groceries To Your Door

Since its acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, Amazon has slowly been ramping up synergy between the two brands. An Amazon Go concept convenience store in Seattle allows customers to enter, scan their cell phone, and walk out with groceries without having to stand in line; select Amazon products, like their Echo devices, have made their way onto retail shelves.

Now, consumers in Austin, Dallas, Cincinnati, and Virginia Beach can use their status as an Amazon Prime customer to get free home delivery of their Whole Foods groceries. Beginning Thursday, February 8, the market will drop off orders within two hours. (One-hour delivery carries a $7.99 charge.)

“We're happy to bring our customers the convenience of free two-hour delivery through Prime Now and access to thousands of natural and organic groceries and locally sourced favorites,” Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey said in a statement. “Together, we have already lowered prices on many items, and this offering makes Prime customers’ lives even easier.”

Most everything in the store is eligible for delivery, though we’re not certain they’d deliver a live lobster. “Select” alcohol is also available. You can visit to see if you’re in their delivery region. Keep checking, as they plan to expand throughout 2018.

If you’re not near a Whole Foods at all, other regional grocery chains like Wegman’s also offer home delivery on a subscription-based pricing structure.

[h/t The Verge]


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